From special security officer chief of her U.S. Marine Corps unit’s Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility to signals
intelligence analyst to security manager for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), Erin Parks, CPP, has achieved much in her career as a security professional.
“When I was in the military, I didn’t realize that I was doing security management work,” she observed. “It wasn’t until I became a civilian that I realized my experience and potential in this field.” Parks attributes her decision to move into private security to many of the industry’s professionals she met and networked with. Although she readily shares her excitement for and love of the security management profession, Parks recognizes that it is not a field for everyone. “If you like rules, are a problem solver, and can remain calm in stressful situations; I would absolutely recommend exploring the field.”
In her current position, she reports to the regional information security systems manager in the cybersecurity department of CSC. Routine, daily tasks vary in scope and nature for Parks, who has been with the company for more than five years. One of her main responsibilities is managing access control to the 100,000 square-foot data center, which includes its critical infrastructure environment, sensitive areas, and administrative space. She also manages contract security officers, provides security awareness education to employees, and creates and enforces all documentation relating to site physical security. “From time to time, I work with outside agencies to ensure my location is prepared for the large-scale events that take place in Chicago such as the presidential visits and the NATO Summit,” notes Parks. “My site’s location is directly adjacent to where these events have taken place.”
A member of ASIS for two years, she had her sights set on earning her Certified Protection Professional (CPP) early in her career. Parks recognized the respect that the certification represented in the security industry. Once her work experience reached eligibility, she joined the Chicago Chapter’s 12-week CPP study group. She successfully tested just after completing the preparation program in December 2011. Parks went on to assist others in preparation for the exam by teaching a portion of the Protection of Assets Manual, which is the main text for the exam, as well as sharing her experiences and offering study and test-taking strategies. “The CPP certification increased my confidence. It was an amazing accomplishment and affirmed my capabilities. It also rounded out my way of thinking about security and solving problems.”
Parks is hopeful she has set an example for her colleagues at CSC and works to educate peers and managers on the professional and business benefits of ASIS board certification.